January 29, 2018
Part II: Participating in the Search Process
The job search can be both a privilege and a process and it comes with many—literal and figurative—placement programs, on-campus interviews, and potential relocation.
In addition to locating positions through online websites, social media, and campuses’ human resources listings, there are placement programs that occur—typically in the spring—through various professional organizations.
The first things to ask yourself are: Is this necessary? Is this necessary for me?
I cannot answer the second question for you, but I can share some thoughts on the first. It is not necessary to attend a placement program to get a job. You can certainly attain a #SAPro position through other means. In fact, placement programs might not be a conducive environment for you as a candidate—based on what you are searching for, how you best engage with others, etc. Alternatively, placement programs can be helpful for some folks, particularly those who have wider job search parameters, are seeking entry-level positions, or want the ability to interview for several positions at once. It is also important to note that a few positions will only interview candidates through placement programs; so, you may be boxed out of a few positions for forgoing placement programs. But, again, I will stress that you can get a job without attending TPE, OPE, or the like.
So, I suggest a couple of things:
If you do choose to attend a placement program, you should be aware of the following costs:
Whether you attend a placement program or engage in a first round phone or video interview, the final interview stage will invite you to visit the institution in person to engage in a series of conversations, meetings, and sessions. You can find a sample schedule in The Strategic Guide to Shaping Your Student Affairs Career (Ardoin, 2014).
Before you arrive on campus though, there will be costs for transportation, lodging, and meals. No big deal, because someone else is paying for this, right? Well … maybe. Institutional support for candidates may or may not be a reality. It will vary by institution, location, and budgets. So, as you consider on-campus interviews note that institutions may provide no support, reimbursement after the interview, or full, upfront support. No support is what it sounds like—you are on your own to cover costs to get to and through the on-site interview. Reimbursement after the interview means that you will have to front all the costs on your own dime and then submit the necessary documentation to the institution to get paid back later. Note that this often includes sending original receipts and sometimes even your bank or credit card statements, so be prepared and organized! Finally, institutions may offer full, upfront support of all costs, which means they will book and pay for your travel, lodging, and meals. But, there is a crucial caveat here—be aware that some institutions have a policy that if you are offered the position and turn it down, then you will have to “eat” the costs and repay the institution for all expenses of your visit. Wondering why this happens? Among other rationales, it is because institutions only want serious candidates at the final stage and because some folks try to make vacations out of interviews. So, be clear about the type of support the institution offers to candidates and any corresponding policies for on-campus interviews and determine how that might impact your decision to accept interview invitations.
If you are paying or fronting costs, you will need to consider:
At this point, you have secured an offer and accepted it. WOO HOO!! Make sure to celebrate this point in the process and give yourself at least a day or so to relish in the accomplishment and share the good (or bittersweet) news with family, friends, and colleagues. Then, you will need to start to contemplate relocation and the corresponding costs, if the position requires a move.
You should know, based on the job offer, if the institution can provide any type of relocation or moving expenses. Typically, there is not support for entry-level positions, or even mid-level ones, but inquire about this; if you don’t get it, you’ve lost nothing! If there is any kind of institutional support, make sure you understand how much funding is being offered and how it should be used. Similar to the on-campus interview, this may require reimbursement with specific kinds of receipts or the institution may utilize specific moving companies because of contractual obligations.
If/when you begin to create your relocation plan, you might want to consider costs of:
To recap, the job search can be both a privilege and a process and it comes with many—literal and figurative—costs. I hope this post serves as a brain-jogger for you to consider the costs and ways to reduce and manage them throughout the search. I wish you good vibes for the roller coaster ride that is the #SAPro search. You got this!
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Sonja Ardoin (@SonjaArdoin) is a learner, educator, and facilitator. Currently serving as Program Director and Clinical Assistant Professor of Higher Education at Boston University, Sonja is a proud Cajun, first gen to PhD, and scholar-practitioner. She authored The Strategic Guide to Shaping Your Student Affairs Career (2014) and serves with organizations such as NASPA and LeaderShape. Sonja enjoys traveling, dancing, reading, writing, sports, laughing, and spending time with people she loves.
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